England for All. Dedicated to the Democratic and Working Men's Clubs of Great Britain and Ireland.

MARX Karl.; HYNDMAN Henry Mayers (1881)

£2500.00  [First Edition]

Please contact us in advance if you would like to view this book at our Curzon Street shop.


First edition. 8vo. [iii]-vi, [2], 194 pp., lacking the half title. Original blue embossed cloth, front cover lettered in gilt (extremities rubbed and bumped, faint diagonal abrasion and small white stain to front cover, front and rear free endpapers crudely excised). London, Gilbert & Rivington. 

Inscribed by Hyndman 'With the author's compliments' in black ink to the head of the title page. 

Arguably the first partial appearance of Das Kapital in Britain, with Chapters Two ('Labour') and Three ('Capital') containing substantial plagiarism from Marx's great work. 

The first full English translation of the first volume of Das Kapital was not published until 1887, but various partial translations and summaries had been printed earlier, the majority of which appeared in the United States owing to the strong presence of German migrants in New York and the East Coast who were involved in the First International. The very first of these was printed in 1872 in the form of a broadsheet published by the New York section of the First International containing a single passage on the 'Normal Working Day' from page 201 of Das Kapital. This was followed by a 'popular sketch' of Kapital again published New York, serialised in the periodical The Socialist (renamed Labor Standard during publication) across thirteen instalments between May and August 1876. The Labor Standard then serialised an English translation of Johann Most's abridgement of Kapital, originally published in German in 1873 and revised by Marx and Engels themselves in a second edition published in 1876. Most's abridgement was translated by Otto Weydemeyer and serialised across ten issues of the Labor Standard between December 1877 to March 1878 under the title "Extracts from the 'Capital' of Karl Marx" and published in pamphlet form in New Jersey circa 1878.

Despite this relative flurry of English partial translations and abridgements of Kapital published in the United States, the first direct partial translation from Kapital to be published in Britain did not appear until 1883 in the form of two short extracts printed in the magazine To-Day: a Monthly Gathering of Bold Thoughts under the editorship of Ernest Belfort Bax and James Leigh Joynes. The first of the two extracts consisted of several pages from Chapter 23 under the title 'The Serfdom of Work', translated from Joseph Roy's French edition of 1872, and the second contained several sections of Chapter 10 titled 'The Lordship of Wealth', translated from the original German.

As such England for All, published two years earlier in 1881, represented the first major presentation to the British public of the ideas contained within Das Kapital and the plagiarism in Chapters Two and Three ensure its status as the first partial appearance of Kapital in Britain. 

England for All was written by the British socialist Henry Mayers Hyndman (1842-1921) as the programme for the founding conference of the Democratic Federation, Britain's first ever organised socialist political party, founded by Hyndman in June 1881.

"A product of Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, a sometime batsman for Sussex County Cricket Club, Hyndman was said to have adopted socialism 'out of spite against the world because he was not included in the Cambridge eleven'. He never shed the trappings of his class, often appearing before left-wing audiences in a frock-coat and silk top hat. His politics, too, were de haut en bas: the proletariat could not be freed by the workers themselves but only by 'those who are born into a different position and are trained to use their faculties in early life'. And yet he convinced himself (if no one else) that he was the reddest and hottest radical in town" (Wheen, p. 370).

Hyndman had read Joseph Roy's French translation of Das Kapital in early 1880 and subsequently bombarded Marx with so many extravagant tributes that he eventually felt obliged to meet him. "Although Hyndman claimed that he was 'eager to learn', according to Marx it was the Old Etonian who did most of the talking. Having gained his entrée, and knowing that Marx's doctor forbade him to work in the evening, Hyndman acquired the habit of turning up at Maitland Road Park uninvited after dinner. Everyone in the household found this intensely tiresome, especially Marx who came to dread the visits from this 'complacent chatterbox'" (Wheen, p. 371).

Their inevitable rupture occurred in June 1881 with the publication of England for All in which Hyndman reproduced whole sections of the first volume of Kapital across Chapters Two ('Labour') and Three ('Capital'), largely translating verbatim from Roy's French edition while paraphrasing elsewhere and distorting many of Marx's ideas in the process. Hyndman made no reference to Marx by name and included only a short note in the preface admitting that "for the ideas and much of the matter contained in Chapters II and III, I am indebted to the work of a great thinker and original writer, which will, I trust, shortly be made accessible to the majority of my countrymen" (p. vi).

Rather than ask for permission, Hyndman wrote to Marx after publication giving various excuses for not having cited him by name, claiming that he wished to avoid directly using the language of socialism by invoking Marx's name - "many Englishmen have an horror of Socialism and that name" - and even suggesting that it was best for Marx to remain nameless insofar as "the Englishmen have a dread of being taught by a foreigner".

Marx was incensed and sent a letter to Hyndman dated 2 July 1881 in which he dismissed his various excuses, but also included some interesting advice on the proper drafting of political manifestos, an area in which Marx of course had considerable experience:

   "Apart, however, from your rather humorous reasons, I am decidedly of opinion that to have named the Capital and its author, would have been a big blunder. Party programs ought to keep free of any apparent dependence upon individual authors or books. But allow me to add that they are also no proper place for new scientific developments, such as those borrowed by you from the Capital, and that the latter are altogether out of place in a commentary on a Program with whose professed aims they are not at all connected. Their introduction might have had some fitness in the Expose´ of a Program for the foundation of a distinct and independent Working Class Party."

Despite Marx's indignation, the text represented one of the earliest major popularisations of his ideas to appear in England and Marx himself later conceded its usefulness as propaganda, writing in a letter to Friedrich Adolph Sorge dated 15 December 1881: 

   "With all that his little book - so far as it pilfers the Capital - makes good propaganda, although the man is a 'weak' vessel, and very far from having even the patience - the first condition of learning anything - of studying a matter thoroughly. All these amiable middle-class writers - if not specialists - have an itching to make money or name or political capital immediately out of any new thoughts they may have got at by any favourable windfall. Many evenings this fellow has pilfered from me, in order to take me out and to learn in the easiest way."

A more commonly encountered 'cheap edition' was also published later in the same year by E. W. Allen in London with the addition of a new subtitle 'The text-book of democracy'.

The true first edition presented here is scarce. Although surprisingly well held in North American libraries, Library Hub lists only in three copies the UK (Senate House, London Library & Bishopsgate Institute. Not in the British Library who hold only the E. W. Allen 'cheap edition'). OCLC adds two copies in the Netherlands (International Institute of Social History & Bibliotheek Universiteit van Amsterdam) and one in Germany (Bibliothek Der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung).

See: Marx & Engels, Collected Works, Volume 46, Letters 1880-83; Willis, 'The Introduction and Critical Reception of Marxist Thought in Britain, 1850-1900'; Foner, 'Marx's Capital in the United States'.

Stammhammer, III, p. 155 (erroneously listed as 1883).

Stock Code: 244233

close zoom-in zoom-out close zoom